The Democrats’ strategy on Iraq. What it is, and why it’s working.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are chipping away at Republican support for Bush’s war strategy and solidifying their own. Last week nearly 40 percent of House members voted to get out of the war, surprising even their leadership. Public opinion is on Democrats’ side as polls show most Americans want the war over.

Vote by vote, Democrats are forcing their fellow party members as well as Republicans to choose whether to stand by the Bush administration, and potentially face a voter backlash next year at the polls, or join them in beginning to draw down troops.

Republicans know that every vote their senators take on the war provides campaign fodder for the 2008 election, while drowning out action on other issues. “I would prefer not to talk about Iraq every day,” one Republican leadership aide said.

I’ve never been a big fan of having votes in Congress just for the sake of having them (i.e., having a vote on an issue you know you’re going to lose). Case in point: the Alito filibuster. Falling on your sword for principle is nice, and perhaps looks good in the history books (or on film), but if you’re trying to truly accomplish something, guaranteed failure should be your last option, no matter how “just” it feels. But there’s an exception to that rule, if by failing you start inching towards victory. That’s been the Democratic strategy on Iraq since the election (and even before). Every Iraq vote, even though we keep losing, chips away at Republican congressional support for the war. And what’s more, it also has been chipping away at Democratic support for the war. Every time we vote, the numbers for our side increase.

It’s still a risky game. The public doesn’t like gridlock, and that’s what the Iraq war votes signify. But in this case, there’s only one party in town that’s talking about ending this war, and that’s the Democrats. The public knows this. And after another year and a half of votes, their increasing frustration could boil over, again, at the ballot box. At least that’s the plan, and I like it.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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